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PHOTOS: Storm Slams California, Drops More than 10 Inches of Rain and Causes Devastating Mudslides

11 Dec 2014, 5:25 pm

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The storm that slammed California, this week, is one of the largest to hit the state in more than six years. And it caused big issues.

According to the L.A. Times, at one point on Thursday, more than 170,000 people were without power in the San Francisco Metropolitan Area. As of early Friday afternoon, PG&E, the state’s largest power provider, was reporting just over 6,000 customers were without power in their coverage area. Other sporadic outages were scattered across the northern part of the state.

The influx of rain and wind is also had a significant impact on travel in the region. According to flightaware.com, hundreds of flights were canceled or severely delayed out of or going into San Francisco International Airport, on Thursday. By early Friday afternoon, cancellations had dropped precipitously. But delays — more than 180 in all — were still plaguing travels to and from SFO.

All meteorological problems that faced northern California, this week, were a combination of heavy rain and high winds — caused by an atmospheric river of moisture known as the “Pineapple Express.”

Huge amounts of rain have fallen and impressive totals are being reported in northern California. Some locations in Sonoma County, just east of of the Bay Area, are reporting between 6 and 9 inches of rain. The coastal areas are also reporting very heavy rainfall as well. Totals near Big Sur were closing in on five inches and rainfall nearing three-inches-per-hour was being reported near too.

According to a tweet from the National Weather Service in the Bay Area, the highest rainfall in that area topped 10 inches.

Many images from social media, from Thursday, showed submerged cars and roadways flooded out from Berkley to Palo Alto to Oakland. Officials were urging people to avoid flooded roads. A foot of swift-moving water is enough to float a car downstream, potentially creating a life-threatening situation.

The massive influx of atmospheric moisture was also felt in Southern California, where many areas of the L.A. Basin saw between 2 and 4 inches of rain. Downtown Los Angeles only saw about a half-an-inch of rain, while Beverly Hills peaked closer to two inches. More than five inches of rain fell in the foothills of Santa Barbara County.

Couple the recent dousing of rain with saturated, devegetated soil and you’ve got a recipe for mud or rock slides.

Camarillo Springs, Calif. — located about 50 miles west-northwest of Los Angeles — bore the brunt of a mudslide early Friday morning. According to KTLA, the mudslide impacted eight houses and an elderly couple had to be rescued by first responders, after becoming trapped.

In addition to the rain; wind and snow wreaked havoc across the state. Some wind gusts touched speeds normally seen in a Category 4 hurricane. Benton, Calif. recorded a mind-boggling 139-mph wind gust in Thursday. Numerous instances of wind gusts north of 80-mph have also been recorded.

Strong winds and heavy snow had prompted the issuance of blizzard warnings and winter storm warnings, but those have since been canceled. Snow totals, north of a foot-and-a-half, have been reported in parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountians.

While the snow may be over, roads in the high country will still be treacherous. Use extreme caution if you must travel in the area.

Storm tallies and totals are still being calculated and WeatherNation meteorologists will bring you the latest on-air and online.

Meteorologist Alan Raymond

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